Sudden sight loss leads to learning award for Andy

A student from Dudley College who lost his sight at the age of 70 has been recognised with a prestigious award for his learning.   Andy Main from Wall Heath won 'National Senior Learner Award' as part of the 20th Adult Learners' Week 14-20 May 2011.

Andy overcame the trauma of total blindness through adult learning and now uses all his talents to help other people in need.  Andy suddenly lost his sight through a previously undiagnosed genetic disorder having just recovered from life-threatening cancer.Middle Andy Main collecting his award

With the support of his partner and Dudley Vision Services Andy regained his confidence and powers of communication through new computer skills acquired in college and at home.
His tutor at College Joanna Griffin said: 'Andy is a tremendous ambassador for the course, helping and encouraging other visually impaired learners.  For Andy, learning is now a lifelong activity’. 

Alan Tuckett, NIACE Chief Executive said: 'The stories of our award winners once again this year illustrate the overwhelmingly positive impact that learning has on people's lives.  The transformation that Andy has experienced is due to his dedication, persistence and ambition.  I hope that adults across the country will be inspired by Andy's story to take up learning and discover for themselves a whole new life.'

Andy was presented with his National Award at the Queen Elizabeth ll Conference Centre in Westminster, London on Monday 16 May 2011. He also attended the Midlands Adult Learners Week Regional Award Ceremony on 18 May in Leicester.

Andy who has studied at the Pocklington Centre in Stourbridge using Dolphin Guide software said: 'My life has certainly changed since taking the course.  I no longer feel isolated, I use the internet to find out news and keep up to date with what's going on.  I even type reports for the golf club where I was a secretary.'